Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The OCI Experience [Part One]: Banging my Hard Head Against an Even Harder Wall

I entered my first year at Santa Clara with comparatively little knowledge about the procedural aspects of law school. Orientation only gave rise to more questions, while the rumor-mill and the initial (now, notorious/infamous) Fall Career seminar only served to ramp up anxiety levels about my post-law school life. For instance, I had no clue about when or what classes I should be scheduling, whether or not I should be signing up and paying for a bar course early, or whether I should participate on a Journal or go out for the Law Review. The good news is that I successfully made it through the substantive portion of my first year of law school; I passed all my classes and am officially a (rising) 2L. The bad (scary) news is that, procedurally, I am predominantly still in the dark.

Scheduling for the Fall 2009 semester was a haphazard, “close my eyes and throw darts”, kind of process; ultimately, while I am still waitlisted for the 2 classes I really wanted to take, I feel I have a satisfactory schedule. I have yet to sign up for, or really give any thought, to what bar course I will be taking (but I reached the conclusion that one will be necessary…which is absurd in its own right. Not only I am paying $100,000 for a legal education, but I need to shell out MORE money on a course to learn how to pass the bar). Also, I am stuck on the fence regarding whether to participate on the Computer and High Tech Law Journal, or Law Review, or both. Frustratingly, when I emailed the Law Career Services (‘LCS’) for advice, I got a response that flip-flopped more than a sandal clad John Kerry walking to the beach to photo-op on that wind-surf board back before the 2004 election (if you think that is unfair, just ask my friend Nick about LCS and you will receive a scathing review, I have no doubt).

Anyways, all of the uncertainty and feelings of misguidance have been spearheaded with my participation in the OCI process, a process that is further muddled by the fact that I am in Tokyo, a full 16 hours ahead of the various Pacific Standard Time deadlines.

Not only am I unsure of what to include on my resume and in my cover letters, I do not know which firms to bid on, and I remain entirely skeptical about just how worthwhile my extensive effort will actually be (I have easily spent over 10 hours to write 20+ different cover letters, and put together my resume, reference list, writing sample, etc.). As more firms continue to pull out of OCI’s, (first Morgan Lewis, then Orrick, now Squire Sanders…) I feel as though this entire exercise will be for naught. The pressing question remains: does/will anyone actually get a Summer Associate position as a result of On-Campus Interviews?

And again, when I turn to LCS for advice and counsel (who you gonna call?), I get the sinking feeling that they don’t really want to be bothered by a kid who keeps firing emails into their inboxes in the middle of the night from 5,185 miles away (that is 1/5 the world’s circumference, I wolfram alpha’d it…). In their defense, I received a few responses that assured me of their availability and willingness to help, while (I felt) at the same time sent off a ‘stop annoying us vibe’. Perhaps I am the one who is not doing what needs to be done in order to take advantage of their services (however, when recalling the $100,000 price tag attached to SCU Law, I feel that students should not be required to navigate an obstacle course to get the answers they are looking for…).

It is somewhat of a shame. Substantively, I LOVE law school, and Santa Clara University; everything about (most of) the professors, the course materials, and the law itself, excites me and interests me deeply. Yet, the tedium of the procedure may ultimately be the death of my career as a lawyer, before it even begins (or, at least help to thin my hair in the meantime). I can write law schools exams, and I feel that I can provide almost any firm with a quality legal skill-set and the constant ambition to learn that they seek from a first-year associate. However, where I may stumble is in the attempt to jump through these procedural hoops.

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